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Penny ensures a 'Taylor' made start for Opals
ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship for Women) - Penny Taylor put a lot of things to rest - including many doubts about her form and fitness - with a vintage performance that led Australia to a 90-57 win against Cuba at the FIBA World Championship for Women on Saturday.
The 33-year-old Phoenix Mercury shooting guard reeled in 11 of her team's points in the first quarter and went on to finish with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block - in her first appearance donning a Opals jersey in four years.
Taylor spoke to FIBA.com after the game.
FIBA.com: Congratulations on the win. Can you talk us through it?
Taylor: I think we came out focused. We had a great start. We knew that they would come back, as they did in the second quarter. We had to really focus that third and fourth (quarters). Because no matter how good you start, what matters is how you finish. We really focused on to get the momentum back.
Personally, I've missed playing for my country. - Taylor
FIBA.com: Four years is a long time for you to stay away from the Opals jersey…
Taylor: I'm happy to be back and be a part of this team. I was just trying to do my best out there today. It was a disappointing time (being out of the team). Obviously I have worked my way back and I feel like taking full advantage of it.
FIBA.com: What was running in your mind when you started the day?
Taylor: I think it was a bit emotional. You remember what you missed. The Olympics and that side. But I'm looking forward to doing the best in this tournament.
FIBA.com: What is the talk in the team about missing Lauren (Jackson) and Liz (Cambage)?
Taylor: They are devastating blows for the team. But we here now and we have to do what we can. We have a lot of confidence in each other and in playing as a team. Not one person is going to replace either Lauren or Liz. They are amazing talents. It's all going to be about everyone stepping up a little.